Pairings in Paso: Sea Bass and Twin Coyote Vermentino

by Tina Swithin

With the Paso Robles Olive Festival just behind us, I've had olives and olive oil on the brain for weeks. I've naturally decided to feature a scrumptious recipe that took Grand Prize in the Discover California Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest sponsored by Paso's very own, We Olive . Recipes poured in from around the state and one lucky chef walked away with an amazing prize package which is the culinary adventure of a lifetime.  The Grand Prize package was a stay at The Olive Cottage- Bed & Breakfast at Alta Cresta Orchard, VIP Admission to the Paso Robles Olive Festival, Olive Oil Sensory Class given by the UC Davis Olive Center, expert-guided tour of an olive orchard, wine tasting tour and a $100 shopping spree to We Olive.  

This month’s Pairings in Paso recipe was submitted by A.J. Dale and has scored a prime spot in my recipe book. Being a full-time, working mom, there are a few components that are required for a recipe to secure a spot in my personal cookbook: healthy, simple and mouthwatering. This recipe scored high in all three categories. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

California Sea Bass with Chili Citrus Herb Vinaigrette California Sea Bass with Citrus Jalapeño Herb Vinaigrette
Note from AJ Dale: Using fresh, simple ingredients, including California EVOO, this healthy, flavorful entrée takes under 20 minutes to prepare

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup We Olive Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
¼ cup We Olive Tuscan Varietal Blend Olive Oil
1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
5 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (any combination of dill, flat leaf parsley, thyme, cilantro or basil)
Salt & pepper to taste

4 – 7 ounce pieces of California White Sea Bass
1 tablespoon buttery California EVOO (We used We Olive Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Salt & pepper

Whisk first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify the vinaigrette. Stir in jalapeno and herbs. Salt & pepper to taste. Set aside while preparing fish.

Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Brush fish with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just opaque in center, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Top with Chili Citrus Herb Vinaigrette and serve.

Pair with Twin Coyotes Winery 2010 Vermentino

This recipe was so delicious and fun to make that I wanted to secure the perfect pairing leaving no room for error. I knew exactly who to contact for advice—Coy Barnes, The Wine Wranger. I had a response from Coy within minutes suggesting the 2010 Vermentino from Twin Coyotes Winery in Paso Robles.  This particular wine was the Silver Medal Winner in the 2011 SF Chronicle Wine Competition.  The chilled, food-friendly wine is amazingly fruity and floral, perfectly complimenting the spicy, herby and citrusy flavors from the sea bass dish. Oak barrels were not used in an effort to preserve the pure fruit and the mission was successful in my humble opinion. A fun, summer wine made by fun people—as their website says, “We believe wine should be fun. Enjoy the wines, drink responsibly, and occasionally howl at the moon. After all, life should be fun.”